Susan Antman, a longtime leader of the Jewish community, will assume the position of executive director of the Jewish Federation in the Heart of New Jersey Jan. 1, taking on the responsibilities of CEO Keith Krivitzky, who is leaving after four years in the position.
She told NJJN that she is “thrilled to drive the Jewish federation in making a difference one life at a time.” With Antman’s appointment, it will become the fourth of 10 federations in the state to be led by a woman.
Antman, who currently serves as federation executive vice president, launched her career at what was then the Jewish Federation of Greater Middlesex County more than 18 years ago as director of planning and allocations. She then became director of financial resource development before being appointed associate director.
Prior to coming to federation, she was associate budget director in New York City in the administrations of mayors Edward Koch and David Dinkins.
Antman, an East Brunswick resident, briefly served as executive director of the Middlesex federation following the retirement of longtime executive director Gerrie Bamira in July 2014 until the merger four years ago of the Middlesex federation and the former Jewish Federation of Monmouth County. After the two federations combined, she assumed her current position with the resultant Jewish Federation in the Heart of New Jersey.
“Federation is at the center of the Jewish community’s humanitarian activities aimed at making Jewish life stronger today and for the future,” Antman told NJJN in a written response to questions. “This includes fueling partnerships to care for those in need, nurturing Jewish identity and ideals, and enabling people to embrace what Israel means to them,” as well as efforts to connect Jews, especially young people, and lead the community in crisis preparedness and response.
She noted that it “was somehow fitting to begin this new chapter during my 18-year — chai — anniversary.” She noted that federation is always evolving along with the community and its members, and said that “federation will change along with them not because we are responding to them or we’re ahead of them, but because we are them. Federation will continue to embody the Jewish collective, and we will change together because we’re all in this together.”
Antman takes over at a time of transition. Since the merger, all of the original staff has turned over — except for executive assistant Rosalyn Perrone from the Middlesex federation and chief marketing officer Lisa Karasic from the Monmouth federation.
Krivitzky downplayed that record of change, telling NJJN that “transitions are always hard,” but that he was satisfied he was leaving behind “a great and committed staff” who will continue to benefit the community.
Antman said she hopes during her tenure “that more people will get involved,” that more community members will “join a committee, come to an event — even begin by visiting our website — look at what we’re about, look at what we’re doing, and let us know what strikes a chord.”
“The future of the federation is the future of Jewish life,” she said. “They are one and the same.”
Others who have worked with Antman commended her as an outstanding choice to take over the federation reins.
“Our Jewish community is fortunate that a professional of Susan’s caliber will lead us in next-level initiatives focusing on communal priorities — from caring for the vulnerable and connecting young people to their Jewish identity, to investing in security and cultivating a shared commitment to Jewish life for today and the future,” said Jeffrey Schwartz, immediate past president of the federation, in a prepared statement, “Susan’s stellar relationships at every level of the community and her reputation for integrity precede her,” Schwartz said. “They are matched only by her track record of success in crafting solutions for individuals and organizations in need, as well as enabling those who are passionate about supporting Jewish causes to do so in ways that serve them and serve the community.”
Board member Alex Kemeny, who chairs the federation’s impact and grants committee, told NJJN, “I can’t think of a better or more dedicated person to fill the position. She has tremendous experience and is extremely capable of getting lay leadership, staff, and the Jewish community to achieve wonderful things.”
Newly elected federation president Cheryl Markbreiter praised Antman’s “outstanding leadership qualities,” telling NJJN, “A trait Susan lives by is the phrase ‘Kol Yisrael arevim zeh bazeh,’ ‘All Jews are responsible for one another.’”
Keith Krivitzky to step down as federation CEO